As always, you can find all of the posts in this series by clicking here.
One of the things that happens in my games that I imagine is pretty common is that places in the setting the game takes place in automatically become richer and more detailed as soon as the PC group visits them. Lostant was basically a name on a map before my PCs went there and as they move on, the “names and places” document I keep has acquired over two dozen names from the events there. And there are a few NPCs (like the grouchy gnome veterinarian) that the PCs never met.
The PCs aren’t in Lostant any more, though – they’ve taken Melgar, a fearsome wrecking machine of a black dragonborn to start a new life as a paladin in service to the order of St. Kylah after Kallista spoke to him several times while he was in jail and convinced him to turn over a new leaf. They drove through the largely-abandoned industrial city of Pylesville (think of a smaller version of Detroit) without much incident but were ambushed by Melgar’s former teammates south of Maghali Da Bina (also known as Highflats). That was a session-long knock-down, drag-out fight that really let the PCs all do their thing (with the exception of the poor ranger, who had some lousy dice luck). After the ambush, they piled back into their vehicles and hightailed it for Maghali Da Bina. And there they encountered the first of the new things that I added to the city: the Maghali Da Bina military unit known as the Rapid Reaction Force.
Swift Guardians on the Wind
The Rapid Reaction Force (or RRF) is exactly what it says on the proverbial tin – a specialized military unit that can respond to problems very quickly – specifically with 2 minutes’ notice or less. They are a necessity for Maghali Da Bina because of its relative proximity to both Klagaron Lach Dalan G’Nor and Alchova means that the areas around its borders are swimming with both troublemakers and people who need help dealing with troublemakers. The PCs found themselves in that position shortly after the ambush when the rest of the Black Triad unit that wanted Melgar back VERY badly showed up in their rear view mirrors not far outside of the city. The Lostant police they were escorting radioed for help, and because Maghali Da Bina is a County … they got it. A kind of shadow came off the top of the mesa in the middle of the city and as it got closer, they could tell it was a flight of Raptoran soldiers. About the same time, a group of armored vehicles sped past them in the other direction. I didn’t even bother to narrate exactly what happened next – because they didn’t stick around to find out. The deputies from Lostant hit both the gas and the lights and sirens and made for the city.
Idyllic and Safe
Maghali Da Bina is a really nice place to be. One detail I added between my collaborative session with Jenny and the PCs visiting the city is that because the city includes both forest gnomes and rock gnomes, it makes sense to have a lot of green space incorporated throughout the city as well as technological advancements as a byproduct of the large gnome population. One thing that’s been consistent throughout my GMing career is that I portray gnomes as bundles of boundless enthusiasm – and that means that there are a bunch of druid-tended green spaces in basically every neighborhood of the entire city.
In addition, the strong focus on safety and quality of life in the city (and the prestige that comes with advancing those things) has ensured that the city is extremely clean and well-maintained. The gnomes are decades ahead of everyone else in pollution control, and the air quality in Maghali Da Bina is second-to-none for a city of its size. Streets are broad and well-maintained (the gnomes use concrete for everything, eschewing blacktop and other less-durable paving materials entirely) and intersection construction is done in such a way that parked vehicles do not impede visibility.
Perhaps just as importantly, it’s a prosperous enough place to support a variety of specialized small businesses. The PCs visited a small local steakhouse; I had Jenny do some more impromptu worldbuilding and she described a small, nice restaurant with very good steak and an extensive collection of craft beers. That lead to some interesting character moments as Kallista became overwhelmed with the niceness of the place and more than one beer option, Hala asked about the wine list, and Traven and Rowan (who share a backstory) reminisced and jokingly sniped at each other. (Rowan is the PC of our new player in my game.)
A Few More Details
Some additional notes that came up talking with Jenny about Eteri’s backstory, but don’t really fit with the above: there’s a mandatory service program in Maghali Da Bina, but it has multiple “tracks.” The military is the largest one, but there are also city watch and fire/rescue tracks. Every citizen of the city, regardless of their species, undergoes one of these after high school, which means that almost everyone in the city has at least some training in crisis response and first aid and the population is less helpless than the norm. This feeds into the general culture of safety – if there’s an accident, everyone knows first aid, if there’s an attack, everyone knows what to do. If there’s a natural disaster, everyone has training in keeping a cool head.
Now Leaving Maghali Da Bina
I doubt the city will be getting too much more detail for a while, however, because it’s too nice of a place to hold much in the way of adventures. Maghali Da Bina, like the other Counties, is designed to be an example of where things have gone right for a long time and continues to do so. But that means I need to get the PCs out of the city soon, which means that I’ll probably have something else neat to write about soon.